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Ernst Bromeis had to stop the BWT Lake Baikal ex­pe­di­tion due to health rea­sons

On 11 July 2019, Ernst Bromeis began his 900-kilo­me­tre swim across the full length of Lake Baikal in order to raise aware­ness of water as a re­source and the re­duc­tion of plas­tic water bot­tles.

He ex­pect­ed to ful­fil his mis­sion with­in two months dur­ing the Siber­ian sum­mer. After 10 days, Ernst Bromeis suf­fered health is­sues and, due to ab­nor­mal­i­ties in his heart rate, he de­cid­ed to can­cel the ex­pe­di­tion.

With his de­ci­sion to swim the en­tire length of Lake Baikal, Ernst Bromeis chose a nat­ur­al set­ting that could not have been more sym­bol­ic. There is no bet­ter sym­bol to raise aware­ness of water as a re­source.

Ernst Bromeis Ernst Bromeis

Lutz Hübner, CMO of the BWT Group, said that with his many years of per­son­al com­mit­ment to water Ernst Bromeis is a role model for lots of peo­ple and BWT was de­light­ed to be his Lake Baikal ex­pe­di­tion part­ner. That he has had to stop the BWT Lake Baikal ex­pe­di­tion on health grounds is a great pity and ex­treme­ly re­gret­table.

"Nevertheless, the state of physical health of our athlete, who is also father of a wonderful family, is much more important than any expedition could ever be."
Lutz Hübner - CMO
Lutz Hübner also points out “that it goes without saying that we still have to act now!” And BWT will not stop to demonstrate against plastic waste and is working daily on perfect product solutions for so called Bottle Free Zones.

The Ex­pe­di­tion

The Lake Baikal Ex­pe­di­tion will start in Kul­tuk at the south-​​west­er­ly end of the lake. From there, Ernst Bromeis will make his 900-​kilometre-​long way along the south­ern shores. His des­ti­na­tion is the city of Nizh­nean­garsk at the north­ern tip of Lake Baikal.

 Dur­ing the first two thirds of his jour­ney, Ernst Bromeis will be able to eat and sleep on land. But for the last 300 kilo­me­tres, steep cliffs, wild bears and, not least, the 60-​kilometre-​wide delta of the Se­lan­ga River ren­der this op­tion im­pos­si­ble. In­stead, Ernst Bromeis will have a 10-​kilo­gram raft in tow which will dou­ble as his sleep­ing place and float­ing car­ri­er for clothes, a tent, equip­ment and pro­vi­sions.

“There is no more civ­i­lisa­tion. There are no more trails or paths from the land to the lake.”
Ernst Bromeis
Map Lake Baikal
Map Lake Baikal

Ex­treme per­for­mance re­quires ex­cep­tion­al prepa­ra­tion

How does one pre­pare for a 900-kilo­me­tre swimming ex­pe­di­tion? An in­creas­ingly self-​suf­fi­cient ex­pe­di­tion on which you swim and fight with and against your­self, with and against the water.

Ernst Bromeis Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal Ernst Bromeis

Econ­o­mising the swim­ming style

One cru­cial point is to econ­o­mise the swim­ming style. In order to get ahead as ef­fi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble with as lit­tle ef­fort as pos­si­ble. The preparation pro­gramme in­clud­ed count­less tech­ni­cal train­ing ses­sions and swim­ming lessons, in­clud­ing "tile count­ing" in the in­door swim­ming pool and "open water" train­ing ses­sions. How­ever, they hard­ly added up to more than three to four of the up to ten week­ly train­ings. Be­cause the more mo­not­o­nous the tar­get re­quire­ments, the more ver­sa­tile the train­ing should be: cross-coun­try ski­ing, roller ski­ing, rac­ing bikes, moun­tain bikes, run­ning, strength train­ing, ski­ing, hik­ing ... – continuously new stim­uli, al­ways adapt­ed to the tar­get re­quire­ments, such as in­fi­nite­ly long roller–ski push in­ter­vals, some­times up­hill. In between there were per­for­mance tests to check the progress of the prepa­ra­tions and, above all, to optimally adjust of the ex­er­cise load.

Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal

Stay­ing on track

Var­i­ous ex­pe­di­tions have proven time and again that we were on the right track. Com­pe­ti­tions such as the Trans Swiss Triathlon, with runs over dif­fer­ent dis­tances, or cross-coun­try races served to determine locations and as stations to check forms. The En­gadin Skimarathon was one of the best ever – it gave us the cer­tain­ty and con­fi­dence of being op­ti­mally pre­pared. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant be­cause the men­tal as­pect is al­ways es­pe­cial­ly cru­cial. Thus, work­ing on it was one of the big tasks. Days of cross-coun­try ski­ing in the En­ga­dine, swim train­ings on the rough Walensee or bike tours last­ing sev­eral days were sup­posed to pave the way to the even­tual week of strain with­out re­quir­ing too much sub­stance, both men­tally and phys­i­cally - and still strength­en the con­vic­tion of being able to make it and being well-pre­pared.

Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal

One com­mon goal: Baikal

We have given every­thing. Doing what you can using the cur­rent state of knowl­edge and with all the ex­pe­ri­ences gath­ered so far. Con­sci­en­tious, pro­fes­sion­al, se­ri­ous, with an un­re­strained will, every­thing secondary to the goal "Baikal". We have been ac­tive­ly sup­port­ed by world-renowned professionals from all fields with their rich ex­pe­ri­ence: Christof Mannhart, nu­tri­tion sci­en­tist; Wal­ter Kistler and Michael Vil­liger, sports sci­en­tists and per­for­mance di­ag­nos­ti­cians; Gun­ther Frank, swim­ming men­tor and tech­nol­ogy spe­cial­ist; Mar­tina Friedli, physical therapist.

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